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ERIC Number: ED514208
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 478
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-0866-0
An Inquiry into Situational Interest in a Tenth Grade History Class: Lesson Design and Implementation from Berlyne and Bergin Perspectives
Morgan, Christine L.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Wayne State University
Using a "grounded theory" approach, this classroom-based empirical research study attempted to understand if using Berlyne's "collative variables" and Bergin's "situational factors" (external variables) in a learning sequence would "catch/trigger" and "hold" situational interest in students. A collative variable is a property of a stimulus that disturbs the steady state of expectancy and requires the mind to collate when presented. The collative variables used in the study are as follows: "surprise", "complexity", "ambiguity", "novelty", "change", and "indistinctness". When situational factors or external variables such as hands-on activities, social interaction, relevance, discussion, and modeling promote interest in a lesson, the interest aroused is referred to as situational interest. The goal of this research was to engage a history teacher in the translation of situational interest theory into instructional practice guided by a researcher. The purpose of this qualitative study was to document, analyze, and interpret how the teacher and her students in a tenth grade history class experienced situational interest when Berlyne's "collative variables" and Bergin's "situational factors" were incorporated into the design implementation of a history learning sequence consisting of thirteen lessons. This classroom-based study was conducted over a six week period. The study informants comprised of a teacher and her students. The researcher was an active participant-observer in the study. Multiple sources of qualitative data were collected from the study participants. The conversations between the teacher and the researcher while mentoring the teacher in the design and implementation of the learning sequence were audio-taped and subsequently transcribed verbatim. After each mentoring, reflective notes were recorded and added to the transcripts of audio-recordings. The teacher video-taped each of the 13 lessons she taught. On a weekly basis the researcher and teacher viewed some segments of the classroom videos and engaged in reflective talk. These talks were audio-recorded and subsequently transcribed. An interview was conducted with the teacher at the end of the study. Peer evaluation with the teacher and the transcriptionist was utilized to understand if there was a consensus in interpretation of the data. A journal was kept to log the reflections of the researcher's thoughts, ideas, concerns, feelings, interpretations, frustrations, and concerns. Two written surveys were given to the students. The first survey was given to understand which situational variables the students deemed interesting in lessons. The data from this survey was then compared to the list of situational factors provided in Bergin's work. The second survey sought to understand which activities in the learning sequence created the most student situational interest and what situational variables played the greatest role in the students' situational interest. Consensograms were used in lessons to generate frequency tables of student feedback regarding the degree of situational interest in the lessons and positive interactive experiences related. Student test scores on subject matter covered before and during the learning sequence was collected and compared. Individual interviews were conducted with all twenty history students to garner the students' interpretation of situational interest in the learning sequence. These interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. All transcripts generated from audio-recordings of the interviews with the teacher and students, and conversations of lesson planning sessions with the teacher and video texts of the implementation of the individual lessons were subjected to "constant comparative" analysis consisting of open, axial, and selective coding as well as theory building. Categories and sub-categories and corresponding frequencies were characterized on a concept map. The interrelationships of the categories and supporting evidence from data reflected the situational interest of the teacher and students. Three conclusions were made in this research. First, teacher openness and teacher change must be mediated and professionally developed in designing lessons that would create situational interest. Second, when a learning sequence was specially designed with "collative variables" and "situational factors", there were positive changes in the students' learning behaviors and test scores. Finally, "activity features", "affective qualities", and "positive interactive experiences" in a learning sequence were found to be interdependent situational factors or external variables in instructional design that creates situational interest in students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 10; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A